Joy Green, 72, is a smart, articulate woman happily residing at Aspira Mayfair Terrace in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia. A third-generation Japanese-Canadian, she was born in Manitoba but after meeting her husband Robert - or “Bob” - the pair moved out west to live in BC.
New life in BC with Bob
Joy spent 37 enjoyable years working for the Canadian forestry company Weyerhaeuser while living on the mainland. Before making the move to retirement living, Joy and Bob planned to retire in the beautiful, natural surroundings of Vancouver Island. Green requested a transfer to the island and that’s where the pair settled for a few years. Sadly things took a sudden turn for the worse in 2008 when Bob was diagnosed with two rare and aggressive types of stage 4 cancers. The couple were forced to move back to Vancouver City so that Bob could receive the best treatment possible.
Taking care of Bob at Aspira
In 2010 Joy and Bob moved into Aspira. Joy’s best friend Donna owns her parents' old suite at Mayfair Terrace and once Donna heard about Bob’s diagnosis she immediately offered the suite to the couple to simplify their lives at such a dark time. “Donna and I have been best friends for so long. We worked together for 30 years. She’s a brilliant woman. We’re best friends forever,” said Joy with a beaming smile.
Sadly Bob lost his battle with cancer in 2019 at the age of 69. “My husband and I had 47 years together, 47 very good years. I looked after him from 2008 until 2019,” Joy said.
Staying after Bob’s passing and the ‘wonderful’ staff
“After my husband passed, my friends on Vancouver Island asked me if I was moving back but I said no because I love it here (at Mayfair Terrace) so much. I’ve been here now for 13 years now and I’m so happy. This residence is very friendly. It is something that I treasure,” she added.
Green adores the staff at Mayfair Terrace and has a very unique relationship with them. Joy helps out so much at the residence that she is often jokingly referred to as “staff” by the team members. But there is one staff member, in Joy’s mind, who stands out. “I think the world of Kathleen (general manager). Her process of management, I really appreciate it. She is so supportive. So supportive of all the residents’ endeavours and the Residents’ Council. The staff here are wonderful, they’re like a family. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.”
Love of cooking and her
in-demand craft kitchens
Joy loves to help people. During an average day, she will look at the schedule to see who needs help at the residence. She loves to cook and her skills are in great demand whenever she hosts a craft kitchen. Green will cook for a crowd of 20 or more on a monthly basis. “I do chef demos once a month,” she said. “I’m a good international chef and in four years of doing the craft kitchen, I’ve only duplicated (meals) a half dozen times. The residents love to try new food. When I do demos it introduces the residents to new cuisine and it encourages them to try new things.”
Friends and charity bake sales
During her 13 years at Aspira, Joy has made plenty of friends. She has been on the Residents’ Council for seven years and she regularly works with management to make life better for all the residents. It is her bake sales however which highlight just how busy she is at the residence. She baked an astonishing 80 dozen cookies last Christmas to raise money for the food bank. Her cookies sold out quickly and she raised over $900 for a local food bank.
Mealtimes and retirement living recommendation
Being a very capable cook, Joy prefers to make her own food instead of eating in-house. “I don’t eat downstairs very often, I prefer to do my own stir fries. But most residents think the food is good so it depends on your own relationship with food.” Green isn’t hesitant to recommend retirement living and she believes her own positive experience is convincing some of her friends to seriously consider it.
“I’ve told several of my friends who are now retiring to come and live here,” she said. “I’ve recommended it, and they’ve seen how happy I am here. They’ve seen what we do here. A lot of my friends who are retiring in their late 60s are thinking about an independent or assisted living situation instead of staying in a big house.”